It’s estimated that only 25% of new businesses survive their first 15 years. One of the most effective ways to ensure your business is one of the lucky ones is by building strong customer relationships.
This is especially true if you’re in the food industry. This industry has a lot of turnover, so strengthening relationships is key to survival.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can do this. Keep reading to learn the top seven ways to manage customer relationships as a food supplier.
1. Communication is Key
When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) communication is key. Even if something has gone wrong, proactive and early communication with your customers is more important than trying to solve the problem and delaying their solutions.
The best way to ways to keep communication running smoothly is with dedicated teams managing communication with your customers. This way customers feel heard if they have problems, queries, or complaints.
Another idea is to set up a communication calendar, to make sure none of your customers fall through the cracks. Set appointments into your calendar to touch base with individual customers. This keeps an open flow of communication which strengthens the relationship.
2. Use the Internet
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, so many business operations have moved online. And this has largely worked out for the better because it makes a lot of these operations more accessible. It also saves a lot of time and money, since people don’t have to commute anymore.
So if you’re still operating with the assumption that clients will visit a brick-and-mortar store to make their purchases, you’re missing out on a huge customer base.
Your customers don’t have time and energy to visit a physical store to buy your products. And with so many other food manufacturers operating online, the only way to stay competitive is with an e-commerce solution.
For more information about our e-commerce solutions, check out our solutions page.
3. Have an App
Mobile phones make up around 55% of our internet use. This shows that an online store is not enough! To really stand out from your competition, and make your CRM as smooth as possible, a mobile app is the way to go.
Mobile apps are easier for both you and your customers. Online stores, even when optimized for mobile viewing, tend to be clunky and difficult to use from a smartphone.
It’s also easier as a business to manage customer accounts from an app. This means your CRM is even more efficient, which leads to a stronger relationship.
Read more about the benefits of a mobile app for your e-commerce store.
4. Provide Virtual Tours
With everything moving online, a lot of food manufacturers don’t allow their customers to visit their locations anymore as it makes logistics too difficult. But that doesn’t mean you should make it impossible for your customers to know what’s going on.
Offering virtual tours is a great way to show your customers what your facilities look like. Giving your customers a better sense of your operation can help build understanding and appreciation. An added bonus is that virtual tours are usually safer than physical ones.
5. Keep a Human Touch
A lot of people don’t realize that when everything about the relationship becomes automated, it strains the relationship. Your customers start viewing your business as a faceless supplier who they interact with through an app.
This is why check-ins are important. If you can do them in person every so often, even better. This way you keep reminding your customers of the faces attached to the names they’re virtually interacting with.
When you keep human touches, it improves respect between businesses. This strengthens your working relationship.
6. Effective Marketing
Marketing is one of the most efficient ways to do CRM. Using your marketing platforms, you can proactively address issues your customers might be worried about, such as how emergencies like natural disasters might impact service.
You can also run relevant promotions through your marketing campaigns. When you’re creating campaigns that are relevant to your customers, it means they’re more likely to feel like your business is supporting their needs.
Social media marketing isn’t necessarily the best for CRM, but it’s a great way to identify new clients. By keeping your engagement rates high on social media, you boost your profile and have a better chance of connecting with a new potential customer.
7. Clear Expectation Management
One of the biggest (and probably most difficult) parts of CRM is expectation management. The industry rule of thumb is “under promise and over deliver”. This means you need to set realistic expectations for when and what you can deliver, but always give yourself a little bit of wiggle room.
This way, if you’re ahead of schedule, you pleasantly surprise your customers. And if something goes wrong and it takes you the full amount of time, you’re still delivering in the time frame promised.
It is always better to be able to keep your word than promise miracles you can’t deliver. If your customers are asking for something you reasonably cannot deliver, be very clear about the likelihood of that being a successful outcome.
Expectation management is key to keeping everyone on the same page.
Knowing How to Manage Customer Relationships
If you know how to manage customer relationships, you’ve got a good chance of succeeding. And obviously, there are other factors that might influence this. But as long as you’ve got customers, you’ve got business. They are the priority.
So make sure you’re using these seven tips to keep your customer relationships strong.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve your customer relationships.
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